As the calls for clemency for Jonathan Pollard continue to intensify, Henry A. Kissinger, an elder statesman, well-respected diplomat, and experienced member of the United States intelligence community, has become the latest American governmental leader to issue a public call for Pollard’s release. Pollard has spent more than 25 years languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States.
Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard’s sentence to time served (the full text of the letter appears below).
Like former Congressman Lee Hamilton, who also recently called on the President to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard, Kissinger has served as a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which is a nonpartisan and independent body of the Intelligence Community that has full access to the complete range of intelligence-related information. Kissinger was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the time of Pollard’s sentencing.
In addition, Kissinger served as a member of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy of the National Security Council and Defense Department. He is currently a member of the Defense Policy Board.
Kissinger served as Secretary of State from 1973-1977 and as National Security Advisor from 1969-1975. In addition, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ford in 1977.
Kissinger graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1950 and received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1952 and 1954. He has served as a faculty member at Harvard University, in both the Department of Government and the Center for International Affairs.
“[H]aving talked with George Shultz and read the statements of former CIA Director Woolsey, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman DeConcini, former Defense Secretary Weinberger, former Attorney General Mukasey and others whose judgments and first-hand knowledge I respect, I find their unanimous support for clemency compelling,” wrote Kissinger in his letter to the President. “I believe justice would be served by commuting the remainder of Pollard’s sentence of life imprisonment.”
Over the past several months, many prominent government officials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders have issued public calls for clemency for Pollard.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, each of whom had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard’s classified file and is fully familiar with the circumstances of his case, have called for Pollard’s release.
Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard’s sentencing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is currently member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, also called on President Obama to free Pollard.
In addition, a wide array of American leaders have called for a commutation of Pollard’s sentence, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Arkansas governor and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Arlen Specter, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, Pastor John Hagee, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today.
Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his two-and-a-half decades in prison.
Pollard’s life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations. Despite the fact that Pollard entered into a plea agreement and fully cooperated with the prosecution in his case, he nonetheless received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled, which was in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.
The following is the text of Henry Kissinger’s letter to President Obama:
March 3, 2011
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I would have written this letter sooner but for a long trip abroad, from which I have just returned. While I was gone, I gave much thought to the question of clemency for Jonathan Pollard. At first I felt I did not have enough information to render a reasoned and just opinion. But having talked with George Shultz and read the statements of former CIA Director Woolsey, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman DeConcini, former Defense Secretary Weinberger, former Attorney General Mukasey and others whose judgments and first-hand knowledge I respect, I find their unanimous support for clemency compelling.
I believe justice would be served by commuting the remainder of Pollard’s sentence of life imprisonment.
Henry A. Kissinger